BOSTON, Dec. 19 // PRNewswire // -- Uno Chicago Grill(R) is the nation's first casual dining chain to offer a virtual gift card, making last-minute holiday shopping as easy as point and click! With consumers cutting back due to economic pressures, restaurant gift cards are proving to be a popular alternative to retail cards this holiday season because people are more likely to welcome a fun night out.
Uno Chicago Grill, recently lauded as America's Healthiest Chain Restaurant(1) and one of the nation's top family-friendly restaurants(2), has over 200 locations in the United States, making an Uno(R) virtual gift card a convenient, ideal last-minute gift. The cards can also be used at Uno Due Go(TM), the brand's newest fast-casual concept, which launched at DFW International Airport last week.
The virtual gift cards are available via the chain's website at www.unos.com and are powered by CashStar, the interactive gift card and incentives company. Consumers order them the same way they order a plastic gift card, only the virtual gift card is delivered via an email with a link to activate the gift. Available in denominations of $25 or $50, there are nine unique designs to choose from, and each card can be personalized with a message or holiday greeting. Uno also offers plastic gift cards via its website and its restaurants. Both the Uno plastic and virtual gift cards have no expiration date.
"Uno's virtual gift card is quick, easy and ideal for people who enjoy shopping online from the convenience of their home or office," notes Rick Hendrie, senior vice president, marketing, Uno. "For those who love dining out, it's a wonderful last-minute gift idea."
While the National Retail Federation expects total holiday gift card sales to decline more than 5 percent from last year, virtual gift cards are a new entry into the mix and how consumers will react is anyone's guess -- especially given that gift cards remain at the top of consumers' wish lists this year. According to David Stone, CEO of CashStar, retailers have expressed tremendous interest in virtual gift cards and many retailers have reported that as much as 50 percent of their gift card sales are done online, particularly in the shopping days just prior to Christmas.
The company that was the first to develop deep-dish pizza in 1943 is still full of innovation. Uno boasts a number of firsts, including being the first casual dining chain to eliminate artificial trans fats and to increase menu and nutritional transparency via nutrition information centers located in their restaurants. The chain was one of the first to offer a gluten-free menu, and has over 12 items ranging from entrees, salads, sides and desserts. It is also the first national chain to offer a gluten-free pizza (currently in select test markets). For guest convenience and safety, Uno was among the first to clearly identify -- via its nutritional kiosks in store locations -- menu items with ingredients that are linked to the most common food allergies, such as fish/shellfish, soy, tree nuts/peanuts, egg, milk and wheat/gluten. Diners can also preview the menu and nutritional information online via the company's website at www.unos.com.
Editorial Note: Visuals of gift cards and screen shots of ordering pages are available upon request.
Based in Boston, Uno Restaurant Holdings Corporation includes more than 200 company-owned and franchised full-service units located in 29 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Honduras and Saudi Arabia. The company also operates a consumer foods division which supplies airlines, movie theaters, hotel restaurants and supermarkets with both frozen and refrigerated private-label foods and branded Uno products.
CashStar is the interactive gift card and incentives company. Its powerful e-gifting, marketing and promotions platform helps leading brands increase online and in-store traffic and improve lift. CashStar makes it possible for businesses and consumers to securely e-mail monetary value such as Interactive Gift Cards, rewards, incentives and rebates. The Company offers the market's strongest dynamic, customizable messaging system, enabling consumers and marketers to give gift cards with a very personal touch. Leveraging its exclusive affiliation with Coupons, Inc., the leading global solutions provider of consumer print-at-home coupons, CashStar offers its partner brands unparalleled online reach for promoting their unique Interactive Gift Card offerings.
(1) Health magazine, April 2008 issue.
(2) Parents magazine, May 2008 issue.
SOURCE Uno Restaurant Holdings Corporation